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A private knowledge hub to help the gapper navigate the corona world.

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Welcome to Leap VIP

Where can we go?

Dear future Gappers,

We know these are weird and wonderful times and with the Summer now slowly sliding into Autumn the gap year will feel like it has well and truly started with or without any plans laid out.

We feel your pain, as planning right now is virtually impossible as the FCO has pretty much blanket covered the world and squashed any of those 6th form dreams.

But we say hang on in there – there are solutions if we adapt and think outside of the box and that is exactly what we are doing. We have the experience and the will to find new ways to navigate these unchartered waters, so together we can explore, contribute and

have an adventure.


So, tuck in and lets see what unfolds...

Join the private hub of Leap VIP and be the first to hear about opening borders, program options and travel admin.


Join Leap VIP and gain access to:

This resource is continually updated and expanded as updates come in. Follow us on @gapyearexperts - for update alerts.

Also - any questions send us an email info@theleap.co.uk

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Gap Consultation Discuss your travel plans

Chat through your gap plans

Entirely optional but highly recommended as Milly has been running The Leap for a very long time and her font of knowledge is extensive when it comes to what is looking possible in these weird times.

A chat with Milly will help give direction, hope and a realistic overview of safe paths to think about.

Book an appointment with Milly now.

https://calendly.com/millywhitehead/gap-year-consu...

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Where Whose borders are open?

Where in the world can we go?

We don't have a magic wand or an insight into cabinet meetings but we are on it...living and breathing potential opportunities and the new administration involved. Right now we have to be creative with finding solutions to the barriers of travel.

For example Costa Rica - you might have to get 2 types of insurance and pay our partner direct but blue sky thinking is what we need right now. Hop in our slip stream - its all possible.

Risk assessment is what Guy does for a living :)

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48 hours prior booking

Everyone loves to be ahead of the curve so we will let all our VIPers have first dibs on opening programs before its hits the database.

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Alerts Join us on social media

Social media

@gapyearexperts is where you need to be.

Never have we been more dependent on this - instagram is the place where we will notify you of all travel update - so please follow us.

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Leap endorced projects Go direct

Peak inside our little black book...

Never did we think we would ever consider doing this but throughout lock down we met some gorgeous people and projects around the world - people doing extraordinary things and are battling on against all odds to keep their mission alive.

For those travellers happy to go direct - I will happily introduce you knowing that we have vetted them and given them The Leap gold star. Our mantra being - would Guy and I send our kids there....

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Insurance Who's covering corona?

Is a pandemic covered?

No is the simple answer, and before lock down a pandemic was tucked away in the small print - an absurd idea fictionalised by the movies.

Alas even the old and the bold were caught out and the ancient rules for the travel industry meant we were the guys who had to pay the customer back for services undelivered. It was a messy business.

Anyway, moving forward new rules are in place and if a country opens its international borders then COVID-19 is now not deemed a pandemic and falls into the normal illness bracket and will be treated as such.

Likewise some insurance are covering cancellation due to closed borders - scruitinizing a policy is critical and finding a policy which covers you regardless of the FCO is key - we are nearly there...

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Flights Flexi passes and free cancellation

ATOL and ABTA

These bonds have never been so important with regard to flights - I mean we never saw the demise of STA coming.

But in addition to this we need to know who is flexible and who's going to do what in times of trouble and cancellation and most importantly who has a 24 hour emergency service with enough staff to answer the phone.

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Health and safety Testing and quarantine

Swab testing and QR codes

Just the beginning - before departure there's is going to be ever changing admin the airport is going to be busy, despite no shops being open.

When each country opens up we will have this on hand to share with you all.


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Podcasts The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less Travelled

This is our new podcast series of inspirational stories from those who have chosen a different path - especially poignant right now when times are so uncertain. With so many of us being forced to swim against the tide, making different and often uncomfortable life decisions - we want to provide stories of hope and adventure to help spark courage and resilience.

Be open, be brave and tune in, some amazing stories lined up, linking you to our projects directly overseas.

Leap VIP Costs

The private hub of Leap VIP has been created to help the corona hit gappers of 20/21 navigate the unchartered and choppy waters of international travel.

We are asking for a one off subscription fee of £100 which is redeemable off any leap program if that is the route you want to go down. The hub is intended for the leap and independent traveller.

Staying safe is our main goal.

Options and costs

One off subscription fee

Whats included?

Benefits of the hub

First to hear

You'll hear of border openings 48 hours before anyone else.

Program options

You'll hear of program options from the 4 main gap year companies.

Independent travel

Top tips from those in the know, to help you travel safely.

Inspiration

Chat to Milly and maybe do somthing you may never have thought of.

Leap programs

Just to get it out there - a leap program cleverly combines adventure, contribution with fun. You'll spend your weekdays working hard in stunning and remote places BUT you'll have evenings and weekends free to explore. Right now the more structured program is what i would strongly look at, rather than a hostel hopping experience.

I will give you lots of volunteering options with our friends in the industry so you can choose your type of experience and tribe you want to be with.

Who are we?

Where to start - Guy and I have run The Leap for what seems like a life time and the last 5 months has certainly played with our heads. But challenge is what we do and we are excited about creating this resource for the year of corona hit gappers. Their will be solutions for you to travel - we just have to find them and steer you along a safe and measured path.

This resource will come together with the help of our friends in the gap world and it should become a one stop shop. Right now it is in infancy but like all little acorns watch this space as the oak tree starts to take shape.

Be part of this community and we will help you travel safely and responsibly.

Leaper's Highlights

Have a read of what our current Leapers are doing around the world to get a flavour of Leap life...

Misaotra and veloma Madagascar Ellie Harland

10 weeks is no more than the blink of an eye in a lifetime of stories. It’s ephemeral and fleeting. It seems like an eternity that only lasts a minute. One day you’re a fresh-faced newbie arriving, the next you’re part of the furniture and know all the ropes all the while watching countless other volunteers come and go. It’s left me with cuts and bruises, a bag of sweaty clothing and a currency I can’t exchange, but without it I wouldn’t have these bizarre memories and newfound friends.

Don’t underestimate how fast time will fly, or how many people you will meet, take each day as it comes and make the most of it, come with an open mind and no expectations. Be ready to leave a western world, its comforts and its privileges. Here you will see children with no shoes and houses with no toilets, you’ll hike in humid forests and share a bathroom with 20 people, you’ll watch the sun set fire to the sky every evening and swim in the crystal waters, you’ll teach children the alphabet and help the locals build footpaths. Come to be involved and come to make a difference.

I have learned a lot from my time in Madagascar such as a tuk tuk beeping its horn at you is offering you a lift and the bucket you may find next to a toilet is used to collect water to help flush it, I’ve learned I float really well and I like pineapple and that the Fanta here is full of sugar. I’ve learned how to mix cement and sand to make concrete, how to scuba dive and how to hold a brief Malagasy conversation. We have all learned something valuable in our time, even if it’s just a bit of Northern Slang for all those who have never made it up as far as Durham.

I could not have wished for a better group of people to spend 10, 6 and 4 weeks with in Madagascar. I hope everyone enjoys their next adventure. Misaotra and veloma.

Day trips in Cusco and the final project begins Aela Morris

This week has been a bit of a mish-mash. On Monday and Tuesday, we went on tours around Cusco. One to an Inca archaeological site and some salt mines, and the other to Rainbow Mountain. Then, we packed up and took the bus for about an hour to arrive at the Tierra de Los Yaques project.

Our last stop of the day was a salt mine, which was very cool, and can only really be described with pictures.

Tuesday morning was a ridiculously early start (4 am) to leave on the bus to Rainbow Mountain. I was still a bit groggy when we started the hike around ten. Going up was… rough. It was about a 2 hour hike, and even though it was nowhere near as steep as Colca, the much higher altitude made it a tough hike. Sadly, the view is not that impressive from the first base you come to when you reach the end of the trail, you have to commit to walking up a bunch of stairs to the very top to actually see the rainbow effect.

I enjoyed both tours, though hopefully I'll have time to do some sight-seeing in the City itself on the next few weekends we are there.

We got quite a welcome when we arrived to our final project. A conch was blown and flower petals were thrown on us, before we were dressed in traditional Peruvian outfits and introduced to our hosts for the next 2 weeks.

We have only done about 2 days of work so far, but it has been interesting. We helped make the clay that they use for handicrafts, fed an entire shed full of guinea pigs (rip, probably) and prepared the land for planting in September.

Will we become expert farmers by the end of this? Probably not. Stay tuned.

Farming and Teaching in the Karina Community Aela Morris

This morning, breakfast was at 12:30. That's what happens when you leave teenagers to fend for themselves for food. Only joking! This morning, we decided to forego the cold hostel breakfast to make our own breakfast of eggs, toast, sausage, and bacon, which was a nice break from the more traditional Peruvian food that we have been eating during our time on the Karina project. We’ve now completed a week and a half of the project, and it's been a big learning experience. On the farm where we have been staying, they produce almost all of the food that they eat including potatoes and quinoa, which we have been helping to harvest, as it is currently Fall in Peru. Our other jobs on the farm have included taking the sheep up into the hills to graze and moving the livestock to their pens at night.

We also got the opportunity to do some teaching this week. I taught English to 12 and 13 year olds. The teaching has been a bit of a challenge as the school has no English curriculum or certified English teachers, but hopefully what we have been teaching them (basic conversation, parts of the body, and numbers) has been useful. I have also been able to practice my Spanish a lot, as well as learning some words in Aymara, which is an indigenous language spoken by many people there.

At night, we spend our time playing soccer and basketball with Will, our host family’s son. Soccer really is a universal language. You start kicking a ball around and suddenly a dozen people who speak all different languages are all doing the same thing together. And then we all run home because its stormed basically every night this week. Believe me, you have not heard thunder this loud in all your life. All in all, this week has been very physically challenging, but at the same time very rewarding. We have about 4 more days left in Karina and then it's on to Cusco.

Namibia week 1: Camera traps, hiking and tree babies Millie Edwards

Waking up to such an incredible view on day 2 and being briefed about the month ahead by our pretty cool hosts – Andrea and Red, definitely made the journey worthwhile and made us excited for the days to come. After a relaxing morning getting used to camp life, we headed off to set up some camera traps, to hopefully catch some leopard action with the help of none other than Chanel No.5. Finishing the day with sunset beers on ‘the saddle’ was the perfect ending to our introduction of the trip.

Day 3. What felt like a very early start we began our first game drive. The afternoon was a mystery with Red telling us we were receiving our ‘babies’, these were our very own trees which we will care for and attempt to grow during the next month. Imi G and Emily have called theirs Patrick and have treated him like one of the family.

On day 4 the manual labour kicked in. We made a new track by clearing rocks so the car can reach a new destination, which was oddly satisfying. George and Magnus got straight on it, heading up the demolition team.

Day 5 & 6. The two day canyon hike was upon us. After a few shade breaks, food stops and the birth of ‘Lucifer’ (George’s staff), we eventually came across our camp site for the night by the Orange River and without wasting any time we jumped straight into the river to cool down and cover ourselves in mud.

Today we began Permaculture across the camp and visited the local community in the afternoon. Football, Rugby, Netball and a lot of singing and dancing was involved and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The kids could run laps around all of us and most definitely dance better than our whole group put together.

With love,

Millie & the team

Settling into Madagascar Life Ellie Harland

Tomorrow is Wednesday which means it will shortly have been a week since many of us met for the first time either in Heathrow or Paris Airport. It’s quite a bizarre phenomenon to put faces to the names of relative strangers whom you have only met previously through a phone or computer screen – of course this was a little daunting for us all.

Then ensued the multi-flight to Madagascar where we found ourselves plunged into humidity and heat of 30 degrees when we touched down in our final destination.

We clambered into 2 mini buses while our drivers did a fantastic job of hoisting our bags onto the roof, some of which were particularly heavy. The bus ride was a sweaty one although we were preoccupied with taking in the surroundings of what would be our home for the next 10 weeks or so.

Thick forests lined the narrow, sometimes bumpy road from the airport to the port, young Malagasy children walked barefoot on the verge carrying school bags and battered vehicles beeped to indicate they were overtaking. We reached the port after stopping at an ATM in what I later learned was the town of Hell-Ville on Nosy Be, pronounced ‘Nosy Bay’.

We climbed aboard two boats and began a 45 minute journey to our new home, Camp on Nosy Komba. Our little island is 25km squared, covered in thick forest and is home to the residents of Angpangorina (Angpang) which we would visit on Friday for pizza, drinks and music.

Camp is fronted by Main House, an open common area with a thatched roof and wood and stone structures, it is furnished with hammocks, tables, benches and bean bags (which are my favourite) and is graced with a fantastic view of the sea and the land across from us.

I’m currently on Marine with Alex, Sophie, Ben, Hettie, Harry and Cressie with Arthur and Brinley ahead of us in our training while the rest of us establish the basic principles of diving. It has been an exciting first week settling in and breaking misconceptions of one another and I am intrigued to see what we will experience next.

Ex Head-Hunters and Mulu National Park Ellie Walton

After spending a few days in Kuching we’ve been able to explore further. To start of our few days we visited the cultural village of Mentu in Sarawak. Luckily the sun was shining for us so we were able to walk around at our leisure. We were introduced to several tribes and sub tribes, the names of which I struggle to remember due to their complicated pronunciations! One that stuck however, was the Iban tribe as that was the tribe of the recently visited village. Seth, our team leader and tour guide is from the “head hunting” tribe so we had previously learnt of how the Ibans would seek the heads of those who crossed them; they would cut their heads off and display them.

During our down time we thought we’d kick back with a few beers, we were lucky enough to catch karaoke night which definitely gave us a laugh or two… it was a good opportunity to hear some obscure Malaysian music, however we were unable to compete with the locals despite our exceptional rendition of Celine Dion!

After an evening filled with laughter, we flew over to Mulu National Park where we would embark on a new little adventure. From rides in the long boats along the river, to seeking out bats from the deer cave, we were constantly on the move exploring different parts of the exotic national park. We were luckily able to take a dip in the clear water cave pool after touring around caves and the local area, where all browsed amongst the homemade jewellery and gifts.

Once we caught the third plane of the day, we were ready, set and go for the next community project, after a leisurely few days. We look forward to teaching and building within a different community and shift in culture.

"An unforgettable experience"

I received so much support and positive energy from the team at The Leap; nothing was too much trouble, and contact was maintained by e-mail while I was in Nepal. I started to teach within a couple of days of my arrival, supporting a member of staff. However, within a couple of days I was asked if I wanted to teach on my own. My core subjects were English and maths, but I taught basic hygiene too since there is a lack of understanding amongst the children about germs, hand washing and personal care.

If you want to give your time, skills and energy to a welcoming community, please contact The Leap and opt for a project in Nepal. Like me, you will have an unforgettable experience.

- Keith Donald

" Madagascar leap program SUPERB"

Experience of a lifetime, met people I would never have met and now consider them as my closest friends, gave me a more humble and appreciative view of life and provided me with memories that I can never replace and will never forget.

Highly RECOMMEND!!! (Make sure u like rice and beans and chickens in your room).

- Georgia Burgess

"The Leap is doing a great job"

The organisation and the briefing on the entire trip was great by "the leap". I felt very well prepared and ready to start my adventure. The people in the office are very friendly and always ready to answer your questions or problems. They take care all over the trip of you and they make everything to give you the perfect time in a beautiful new world.

- Johann Plato

"​I highly recommend first time travellers to use the Leap"

The trip to Madagascar is incredible as you get to experience such a diverse, beautiful island. The locals are super friendly and life on camp is great as you start to feel like a family. As the leap is one of three volunteering schemes on the same camp it’s easy to make lots of friends. Scuba diving was the most amazing experience.

Teaching was very very rewarding and made it easier to make friends with the local community. As I was ill whilst out there I can honestly say that The Leap was definitely worth the price as I was cared for very well and had someone come to hospital with me and translate everything as well as being very kind and caring. Overall, Madagascar was an amazing trip and I will definitely go back.

- Lucy Newman

"This experience was life changing."

Although this is from a personal point of view, i wanted to share the great personal development this trip gave me. I believe travel and unknown/unusual environments affects and shapes any individual.

It altered my being in a way i find hard to articulate, it changes you and challenges you that no 9-5 working existence ever could.

- Olivia

Gap year post lockdown?

Worried about how to travel and plan post lockdown? We get it and are here to help, to make sure you travel safely and responsibly. Get in contact to start the ball rolling.

Or give us a call on +44 1672 519 922

And chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team

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Yes please, let's keep life simple.